The word "chai" means, simply, "tea" in many languages. The word "masala" means "spices" (again, in several languages). Hence, "chai masala" means "tea spices" and "masala chai" means "spiced tea."
Here are instructions to make masala chai the way we make it at home. The key is the whole milk, which adds richness, and the relatively large amount of sugar. Sugar really brings out the flavour of the spices, and in India, chai is almost always served very sweet. Of course, you can use skim milk or a dairy substitute and less or no sugar, but this will affect the richness and intensity of your tea.
We sell Chai Masala both on its own and with Indian Assam tea mixed in. We also have a blend called 9th Avenue Ginger Chai, which is a somewhat different mix of spices from our standard Chai Masala.
Bring 5 cups of water to a boil in a pot. Add 3 tbsp of Chai Masala or 9th Avenue Ginger Chai and simmer for 15-30 minutes (the longer the better). Add 1 cup of whole milk, 3 tbsp of loose Assam tea (or 3 orange pekoe teabags if you don’t have loose tea), and 2 tbsp of sugar (raw sugar or brown sugar is best). Simmer for 4 minutes, bring quickly to a boil and strain into a teapot. Pour into teacups from as great a height as you can manage without making a huge mess. This froths its up and makes it lighter and airier. And it's fun.
Spice and tea mixture: Bring 5 cups of water to a boil and add 6 tbsp of the Chai Masala spice and tea mixture. Simmer for 5 minutes, add 1 cup of whole milk and 2 tbsp of sugar. Bring to a boil and strain.
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